Extract 2009

12/18/09

Directed by Mike Judge
Starring: Ben Affleck, Jason Bateman

Mike Judge is in a familiar zone in Extract, which is sort of a close relative to his cult classic Office Space. But this time the main character owns the company, instead of being a cog in the machinery, and middle age presents a different set of challenges. Joel (Jason Bateman) concocted a new approach to soda pop, and his small company is bubbling along nicely--in fact, there's talk he might get bought out by General Foods…unless something were to come along to really, you know, screw up the deal. Hmm, what could go wrong? Joel is sexually unfulfilled with his wife (Kristen Wiig), there's a new temp worker (Mila Kunis) at the factory who favors minimal clothing, and Joel's best friend (Ben Affleck), a slacker bartender, is bursting with bad advice. Oh, and there's an employee (Clifton Collins Jr.) contemplating a lawsuit because of a workplace accident that left him missing an important piece of equipment. The film's plot machinations are less enticing than the moment-by-moment behavioral observations, always a Mike Judge specialty. Examples: the chattering of the factory floor workers, who could easily have stepped out of a King of the Hill cartoon, or Joel's suburban neighbor (David Koechner at his chummiest), the kind of yakety-yak blowhard who simply will not shut up, however many polite messages he receives. It might not amount to a whole lot, and somehow the gifted Bateman seems underused here (Affleck, on the other hand, is having a ball). But Extract seems destined for cable-TV repeatability, much like its corporate cousin. --Robert Horton


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